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Canon Launches new Telephoto Lens

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Canon has today introduced the EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM – a new telephoto lens, which replaces the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. The sleek and compact EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM has an impressive 70-300mm focal range, helping you capture a variety of subjects from a distance, and whilst on-the-move, whether you’re looking to shoot sports, wildlife, action or movies.

Offering AF and optical technology suited for photography and movies this lens is a welcome addition to any kit bag for advanced users of the EOS System. Designed for use with either APS-C or Full Frame cameras, from the EOS 80D to EOS 6D – it’s a high performance lens to get closer to the action and create impactful results to capture the moment.  

EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS II USM Slant with cap

Boasting a completely new optical design, built on Canon’s renowned optical expertise, the new formula utilises one ultra-low dispersion (UD) lens element to reduce chromatic aberration, for sharp images with outstanding colour and contrast. When using the zoom, the lens’s new four-stop Optical Image Stabilizer reduces camera shake and blur, minimising the need for a tripod and allowing you to shoot with longer shutter speeds and still achieve sharp shots.

“When pursuing the ultimate shot track-side, you’ll capture all of the action with the EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM’s built-in Nano USM – a breakthrough technology that was introduced with the EF-S 18 -135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM – offering fast focus acquisition, exceptional tracking speed combined with smooth, quiet operation.   When combined with a versatile focal range, it allows you to capture beautiful portraits and fast-paced action, both in stills and movies. Nano USM makes the lens ideal for movie-makers, giving a natural look and feel to movies – the quiet motor ensuring that soundtracks aren’t disturbed by focusing noise and providing smooth focus transitions from one subject to another,” said the company in a statement.

The EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II USM is the first Canon lens to feature an electronic Lens Information Display, ideal for advanced photographers requiring visible shooting information in real-time. Perfect for checking settings at a glance, the display modes include focus distance, depth of field scale at various apertures, camera shake and focal length.

Providing more information to the photographer, the display is useful for checking steadiness when you’re shooting at low-angles, whilst also allowing you to work out the 35mm equivalents when using APS-C and APS-H format EOS cameras. Designed with a sleek black finish, the lens seamlessly integrates with the look and feel of Canon’s EOS bodies, whilst the practical 67mm filter thread and non-rotating front element makes it compatible and practical for use with filters from other lenses in Canon’s EF range.

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Digital Cameras

Nikon Launches the new Z9

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Nikon Middle East FZE unveils the Z 9, the revolutionary full-frame (Nikon FX-format) Z series mirrorless camera designed to surpass expectations with its unrivalled performance and breakthrough features that are firsts for both in the mirrorless category and in Nikon. Enhancing user capability, the introduction of the Z 9 allows professionals to capture stills and videos with ease. Nikon’s first 4-axis vertical and horizontal tilting monitor and integrated vertical grip will have users capturing the best moments in comfort, even under the harshest conditions.

The Z 9 also features the world’s largest variety of simultaneous subject detection amongst mirrorless cameras, with its tenacious autofocus (AF) offering, and the Real-Live Viewfinder without blackout period. Users will be among the first to enjoy shooting with stunning 8K in-camera recording for up to 125 minutes for making it the most practical camera for location shoots.

A camera is an extension of a photographer, supporting them to express their visions and narratives through images and videos. The flagship Z series mirrorless camera was developed with this in mind, to empower users with ground-breaking capabilities, while ensuring smooth operations with state-of-the-art ergonomics, to deliver utmost efficiency and reliability. There’s nothing quite like the Z 9. Whether it is immortalising high-speed races, fleeting wildlife moments, or avant-garde fashion shows, both professionals and experienced hobbyists alike are unstoppable in their pursuit of capturing every best moment.” said Narendra Menon, Managing Director of Nikon Middle East FZE.

With an advanced algorithm that utilises the newly developed deep learning technology, transcend expectations with the powerful performance of the Z 9 that delivers the world’s largest variety of simultaneous subject detection of people, animals, and vehicles; tracking a total of nine subjects simultaneously in both stills and videos, without the need to toggle back and forth to switch settings. When the Auto mode is selected, the algorithm automatically selects main subjects with comprehensive consideration of information such as subject size, position, defocus, and more.

In addition, the improved detection performance and an increased 405-point auto-area AF have enhanced the AF acquisition and tracking of even smaller subjects and their movements. The subject detection works for wide-area AF (S) and (L), auto-area AF, 3D-tracking, even during video recording. Introducing 3D-tracking for still image shooting, this first-time feature in Nikon mirrorless cameras allows users to seamlessly capture the spilt-second moments, from the fastest sprinters to race cars, and effectively keep tracking them.

Additionally, with the high-speed processing from the new EXPEED 7, which also enhances subject detection performance, even documenting fleeting audience expressions can now be a breeze. With the world’s fastest 120 fps continuous shooting (High-Speed Frame Capture+, make an impact in capturing the detail and precision of what only the Z 9 can see – fleeting micro-moments that are invisible to the naked eye.

Continuous shooting of up to 120 fps is supported with NIKKOR Z lenses and 94 kinds of NIKKOR F lenses with AF. The Z 9 can also continuously shoot at 20fps to capture over 1,000 frames in JPEG or RAW formats, even when flicker reduction is turned on. This is a first for Nikon that is made possible with the high processing capability and large buffer of EXPEED 7 and the fast write speed of a CFexpress Type B card.

Surpassing conventional optical viewfinder (OVF) and electronic viewfinder (EVF) to reveal every single moment, the all-new Real-Life Viewfinder is backed by a new technology. Unlike conventional blackout-free shooting that displays the same frame to prevent interruption of the finder image, this viewfinder continues to display the actual movement of the subject within the scene, so that every single moment can be smoothly and continuously confirmed with no skipped frames or loss of view.

The Dual-Stream technology with 45.7 effective megapixels stacked CMOS sensor achieves 12 times faster still image reading, while also processing separately of the display images for EVF/monitor and still image data for recording. Meanwhile, the newly evolved high-speed, high-performance image-processing engine EXPEED 7 delivers a 10 times faster processing speed thus allowing the live view data to EVF/monitor and recorded still image data to be separately yet simultaneously processed. The EXPEED 7 is also the key enabler to the camera’s deep learning technology for subject detection algorithm and in-camera 8K video recording.

The Z 9 features the world’s brightest viewfinder, a newly equipped Quad-VGA panel that is compatible to adjust the viewfinder brightness up to 3000cd/m2 in response to various lighting conditions. The high brightness panel allows for easy capturing of subjects in bright scenarios, even under the blazing hot sun, and viewing where the displayed photo or video content appears brighter and sharper.

Nikon’s first four-axis vertical and horizontal tilting image monitor provides outstanding flexibility especially when shooting from high or low angles. When shooting in vertical orientation that is made easy with the vertical grip, the interface on-screen is automatically displayed to follow the same for easy confirmation and change of settings. The 8cm touch screen monitor and EVF also make it simpler and quicker for smooth image review and selection, with further help from the customisable monitor display information that lets users choose their preferred display depending on the shooting scene.

Another Nikon-first is the i-TTL balanced fill-flash, where face information is applied for flash control. This technology takes the human subject’s face into consideration and controls the volume of light to be fired appropriately when flash is used to avoid overexposure in your shots. Bringing a solution with higher resolution, the Z 9 offers in-camera video recording in high-quality 8K30p and 4K/30p/60p/120p – a few of the very firsts for Nikon and the highest video performance in Nikon history.

Designed to efficiently dissipate heat, users can record in 8K30p for up to approximately 125 minutes, making it the world’s longest 8K30p recording. Record time-lapse movies in 8K while still being able to obtain still images simultaneously with the adoption of interval-timer shooting (in YUV processed video only). The ability to extract high-resolution stills from 8K videos as well as the decisive moments in 120p after video shooting for enhanced shooting efficiency put forward cutting-edge quality in photos and videos.

Users can also choose to record in 4K with a wide range of frame size/frame rate from 24p to 120p available in multiple formats, even when recording in slow motion. Highlighting the attention to important details that could go unnoticed in the heat of the action, such as track competition finishes or high-speed races, the Z 9 is designed for a myriad of needs and can deliver files expeditiously as it also supports and allows for the selection of diverse codecs including H.265 (HEVC) and Apple ProRes 422 HQ.

Enhancements such as the CFexpress Type B-compatibility in both its slots, for faster write speed when it comes to 8K video recording and continuous shooting of large amounts of frames even with JPEG and RAW files, make all the difference in speeding up the workflow. To meet evolving video creation requirements, the adoption of functions such as in-camera recording of 12-bit RAW video including over 8K60p and further improved operability are planned in a future firmware update. A variety of Nikon and third-party accessories will also be made compatible with the Z 9 for the continuous extension of creative expression and operability in both still image and video shooting.

Enhancing the video recording experience on the Z 9, users can maintain focus with an expanded video AF speed range and a new AF setting. When the subject is not detected when AF is turned off, focus on the foreground and background blur is maintained even after the subject moves out of the frame. Furthermore, with the Z 9’s advanced Picture Control for video, users can fully utilise the camera’s auto capability when shooting to achieve their desired output of balance of contrast and colours for videos – perfect for those who need to immediately disseminate footage with minimal edits. Users can also expect an improvement in sound quality with in linear PCM recording from 16-bit to 24-bit, ability to turn off the plug-in power to microphone connector, and enhanced compatibility with professional high-quality microphones.

Nikon’s first full-frame mirrorless camera that is built without a mechanical shutter, this deliberate omission of a mechanic shutter in the Z 9 allows users to shoot with the world’s most minimal rolling shutter distortion and fastest scan rate. In addition, the in-camera VR adopts a safety lock to prevent risk of damage to the image sensor. Accompanied with the addition of a dual coating to strengthen dust prevention with image sensor cleaning – a first for digital cameras – and a brand-new sensor shield, the Z 9 is formidable when it comes to protecting its image sensor from dust particles.

Great external durability and reliability is also ensured as the main body components are effectively sealed through the system, from the joints of each exterior cover to the tilting structure, to provide high dust- and drip- resistance equivalent to the robust D6. Built with resistance to cold, the Z 9 continues to operate in temperatures down to -10C°, enabling it to withstand the harsh shooting conditions and environments for professional use.

For quick operation, buttons are placed in ideal positions for intuitive use in both vertical and horizontal operations, where favoured settings such as AF area mode, send, and rating can be assigned and switched according to individual needs. A newly-added independent AF mode button allows users to switch Focus and AF area modes while looking at subjects through the viewfinder. Users can shoot confidently and comfortably, regardless of weather, terrain, and lighting conditions with enhanced visibility from the backlight illumination on the buttons to facilitate locating of functions in dark environments.

The Z 9 also supports High-Efficiency RAW, which realises image quality equivalent to the conventional uncompressed RAW but with a file size smaller than approximately 1/3 of the file size.

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Digital Cameras

Sony Launches the new Alpha 7 IV with a 33-Megapixel Full-Frame Image Sensor

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Sony today announced three new additions to its imaging line-up — the interchangeable-lens camera Alpha 7 IV (model ILCE-7M4) with newly developed 33- megapixel (approx., effective) full-frame image sensor and two new flashes, the HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM. The Alpha 7 IV takes ‘basic’ to the next level for full-frame cameras with excellent image quality and performance, redefining the original standard set by the Alpha 7 III. The new model features many of Sony’s most advanced imaging technologies including the latest BIONZ XR processing engine and advanced AF (autofocus) capabilities based on the flagship Alpha 1 model, combined with streamlined operability and enhanced reliability for photos and movies, making it the perfect all-around camera for today’s imaging enthusiasts and professionals who shoot all scenarios.

The Alpha 7 IV also boasts 33 MP resolution, rich movie expression, and various features to support the growing demand for remote communication, bringing new meaning to what a ‘basic’ camera can accomplish. “With the introduction of the Alpha 7 III, we set the baseline for what full-frame cameras should deliver, and now it is time to redefine those boundaries,” said Murat Gebeceli, Head of Digital Imaging, Sony Middle East and Africa. “The Alpha 7 IV brings together the best of Sony imaging technology to deliver a fantastic experience in both stills and video, meaning that users in the Middle East & Africa region will be able to capture exactly the content that they want, in whatever situation they find themselves in.”

The new Alpha 7 IV is the ultimate hybrid camera packed with outstanding still image quality and evolved video technology with advanced autofocus, enhanced operability, and workflow capability. The model was also developed with the environment in mind by using Sony’s original recycled plastic SORPLAS for the camera body and the packaging with recyclable materials and less plastic. With a newly developed 33MP full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS image sensor, superior image quality and Wide ISO sensitivity range expandable to ISO 50-204800 is achieved.

The high resolution enables the camera to express smooth gradation, fine details, and textures of the subject while reducing noise. Its 15-stop dynamic range allows a wide expressive range while Creative Look settings can help to create original looks effortlessly for both stills and video. The latest processing engine BIONZ XR used in the flagship Alpha 1 delivers high-speed AF, uninterrupted continuous shooting at 10fps with AF/AE tracking, and a large buffer for a smooth shooting experience. Alpha 7 IV tracks subjects with tenacious Real-Time Tracking and 759 phase-detection AF points in a high-density focal-plane phase-detection AF system that covers approximately 94% of the image area. Additionally, for the first time, Real-time Eye AF can now track birds and animals’ eye for both still images and movies, in addition to humans. The detection accuracy for the human face and eyes is also approximately 30% more improved, compared with Alpha 7 III.

The Alpha 7 IV inherits technology taken from real-world movie production including S-Cinetone – adopted from Sony’s highly regarded Cinema Line cameras used by a broad range of filmmakers and content creators – to deliver a rich, cinematic look. High-quality movie is achieved with 4K 60p recording in Super 35mm mode and up to 4K 30p recording with 7K oversampling in full-frame mode. The new camera also features 10-bit depth 4:2:2 colour sampling to enable natural gradation, XAVC S-I intra-frame encoding for more efficient editing workflows, and XAVC HS for doubled compression efficiency.

To meet the growing need for precise AF performance when shooting videos, unique AF features are achieved when using the Alpha 7 IV with a Sony E-mount lens, including AF Assist that supports focus transitions when using AF and Focus Map that visualises depth of field. For the first time in the Alpha series, the new camera features Breathing Compensation to combat focus breathing and maintain a consistent angle of view throughout focus changes and can be switched on or off. The Alpha 7 IV is a hybrid still and movie camera with outstanding operability and reliability that easily allows the user to switch from photo to movie and back at their convenience.

New to Sony’s line-up of Alpha cameras is a dual-layer mode dial with the lower layer for selecting Still/Movie/S&Q and the top layer for Auto/P/A/S/M and MR (Memory Recall), enabling users to quickly select and switch between the dedicated settings. It also has 5-axis optical in-body image stabilisation for a 5.5- step shutter speed advantage, as well as an improved grip for greater comfort and a CFexpress Type A compatible media slot to support media with faster writing and clearance. Additionally, the 3.68 million-dot (approx.) OLED Quad-VGA viewfinder is 1.6 times the resolution of the Alpha 7 III viewfinder, allowing users to benefit from the upgraded live-view image quality that minimises false colour and increases resolution.

Videographers can record 4K 60p 10-bit 4:2:2 video continuously for more than an hour thanks to the camera’s heat-dissipating structure. Optical ‘Active Mode’ image stabilisation helps optimum video shooting. They can also benefit from the 3.0-type 1.03 million-dot (approx.) side-opening vari-angle touch-panel rear LCD monitor, top-panel REC button, and high-capacity Z-series battery. The Alpha 7 IV body is built with magnesium alloy to achieve robustness while minimising its weight. In addition, the redesigned structure and lens lock button contribute to enhanced dust and moisture resistance.

The HVL-F60RM2 with GN 60 and 20-200mm coverage and HVL-F46RM with GN 46 and 24-105mm are powerful wireless flashes that offer precise control, enhanced high-speed and intuitive operability. They are designed to meet the needs of both professional and advanced content creators when shooting with a Sony Alpha camera, including the Alpha 7 IV, to offer the ultimate Alpha Lighting System through the flash and camera communicating in detail with each other.

Both flashes have upgraded continuous shooting flash performance, up to 200 times at 10 frames per second for the HVL-F60RM2 and 60 times for the HVL-F46RM. The optimised flash algorithm ensures both flashes are overheat-resistant, and a set of four Ni-MH (Nickel-metal hydride) batteries can power up to 240 flashes with a 1.7 second recycle time for the HVL-F60RM2 and up to 320 flashes with a 2.0 second recycle time for the HVL-F46RM.

When used in combination with an Alpha camera, they allow users to experience the unique communication and system benefits of the Alpha Lighting System. For example, with the Alpha 7 IV, P-TTL flash control metering for every frame in Mid, and Hi continuous mode has become possible in addition to Lo continuous mode. The flash release time lag is also shortened to capture momentary facial expressions and movements of the subject.

With the Alpha 1, the HVL-F60RM2 achieves a phenomenal up to 20fps of continuous shooting and approximately 20 flashes per second can be produced for more than 10 seconds with the external flash battery adapter FA-EBA1. When Alpha 1 is used with Sony’s flashes including HVL-F60RM2 and HVL-F46RM, users can sync up to 1/400 second shutter speed to expand expressive capabilities when shooting in full-frame mode. In addition, with the silent electronic shutter of the camera, silent flash shooting is possible when absolute silence is required.

The Alpha 7 IV will be available from November 2021 in the Middle East & Africa. The HVL-F60RM2 flash and HVL-F46RM flash will be available from October 2021.

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Digital Cameras

Review: Canon EOS M50 Mark II

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Ever since the pandemic, the world of content creation has changed drastically. During lockdowns, many turned to creating and watching content online as their favourite thing to do. No wonder, many vendors have started coming out with products focused on content creators, including vendors of laptops, smartphones, displays, desktop PCs, and so on.

Canon is the latest to jump onto the bandwagon with its EOS M50 Mark II. This mirrorless camera, which is aimed at helping content creators create vlogs, live streams, selfies, images, and so much more, is a successor to the widely popular M50. While both the M50 and the M50 Mark II may look a bit similar, there are some big differences.

The M50 Mark II offers improved autofocus, including eye autofocus for stills and video. You also get vertical video shooting support, which is great for using on social media platforms. In addition, you can just tap the video record button and movie self-timer for a better vlogging experience.

There’s also support for wireless YouTube Live streaming, an AF Working Range down to EV -4 vs. EV -2 on the M50, and a metering range down to EV -2 vs. EV 0 on the M50. The only thing that’s missing from the Mark II is the NFC, which isn’t a biggie.

The M50 Mark II rocks a 24.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, that offers excellent picture quality and shallow depth of field. You also get 4K recording capabilities at 24 frames per second, and Full HD recording at 120 frames per second. Canon has used the DIGIC 8 Image Processor to process all the footage you shoot with the M50 Mark II.

There’s also a high-resolution OLED EVF and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities. Images or videos shot using the camera can also be automatically transferred to compatible devices while shooting or when a Wi-Fi network is available. The ISO range on this one ranges from 100 to 25600. There’s also a 3-inch touchscreen LCD II monitor, with Vari-Angle that allows you to open it at an angle of 180° to the side.

There is also a 7.4-fps high-speed continuous shooting and you get up to 10-fps continuous shooting with AF Lock. The camera also comes packed with a Dual Pixel CMOS AF that allows for up to 143 AF points. You can also touch and drag the AF to easily adjust the AF point directly on the LCD panel. You also get a 5-axis image stabilization when shooting movies.

Handling the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is pretty easy since it is styled like a mini DSLR. The body itself does not have a heft to it – so vloggers and content creators would find it easy to operate with one hand. The control dial, shutter button, record button, and M-Fn can all be found on the top right-hand side of the camera’s body.

Sample 1

We found the touchscreen of the camera to be very responsive. It is quite bright as well – so viewing it won’t be a task under direct sunlight. The camera also comes with a 3.5mm microphone jack, micro-HDMI, and USB Micro-B slots running down the side.

One of the biggest upgrades on the M50 Mark II, as mentioned earlier, is its autofocus capability. The Mark II features face and eye tracking when shooting both stills and video. During our review period, we found the M50 Mark II to perform quite well in terms of eye-tracking, even when shooting fast-moving subjects under low light conditions.

Sample 2

Image quality is top notch – it was able to provide images with good colour and detail. The quality of images and videos are comparable to those found on the M50 since the Mark II uses the same sensor as its predecessor. While the M50 Mark II is capable of shooting 4K videos, we found the quality of the Full HD footage much better to look at.

On a Full HD 1080p capture, you can use the dual pixel autofocus feature, which lets you use eye tracking on your subjects. Here, too, the M50 Mark II did a brilliant job. The camera also allows for direct live-streaming to a YouTube channel. The only catch here is that you need to have at least 1000 subscribers on your channel to be able to use this feature, a limitation, which we found a bit weird, at first.

Sample 3

It may be because YouTube’s streaming guidelines add this restriction to mobile devices such as smartphones. However, streamers who use a webcam are not bound by this limitation. Possibly, YouTube’s ToS classifies the Canon EOS M50 Mark II as a mobile device and thus the minimum 1000 subscriber requirement.

Sample 4

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II is available at a price of AED 2600 for just the body. For AED 400 more, you could opt for the Canon EOS M50 Mark II Mirrorless Camera, Black and EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM bundle. The pricing, as you can see, is very affordable and pocket-friendly.

Sample 5

The performance of the Canon EOS M50 Mark II is also very good, considering it offers a wide range of features that can help content creators create outstanding content. If you are looking for an able mirrorless camera to start your stint with vlogging or content creation, at an affordable price point, the Canon EOS M50 Mark II might be just for you.

Price: AED 2600 (body only), AED 3000 (body and 15-45mm lens kit)

Canon EOS M50 Mark II AED 2600 (body only), AED 3000 (body and 15-45mm lens kit)
  • Final Rating
3.5

Summary

The M50 Mark II rocks a 24.1 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, that offers excellent picture quality and shallow depth of field. You also get 4K recording capabilities at 24 frames per second, and Full HD recording at 120 frames per second. Canon has used the DIGIC 8 Image Processor to process all the footage you shoot with the M50 Mark II.

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